Question – what can do all of the following: fulfil your exercise goals; provide a healthy family day out; make a great activity for you and your partner; introduce you to new friends; entertain; inspire; reduce your carbon footprint; save you money? Answer – you would think it would be some kind of miracle that is yet to be discovered, but it is actually much simpler than that: cycling. The London cyclingscene has blossomed in recent years and you and your family can benefit from this popular pursuit in many ways too.
Let’s start with you and your wellbeing. If you are looking to lose weight, tone your body or simply stay healthy, cycling does it all. A cycle is a great way to burn calories and keeps your lower body in particular in tone. It is good for the heart rate and some would argue that it does not cause as much stress to your legs and feet as running can.
Cycling to keep fit presents you with a variety of options too. You can hit the open road and do the real thing, or come as close as possible to that indoors by joining somewhere like Athlete Lab – where their stationary bikes have all the features of a real cycle in top class surroundings with expert coaches on hand.
At your local health club you can go at whatever pace you want on a regular exercise bike, or move things up a level by joining a spin class. Many regard spinning as the most fun way to do what is ultimately a very intense workout – usually there are great tunes providing your soundtrack, and in a room full of people with the same goals it can be a very sociable experience.
Cycling can also boost your family life in a seemingly endless variety of ways. For a start it is a healthy activity that tears the kids away from their games consoles and smart phones, so you know you are doing your bit for their health and wellbeing. It is a really cohesive activity for the family unit too, getting everyone talking and looking out for each other as they go.
You can even transplant the family cycle to your holidays – a fantastic way to take in the scenery of your destination, while educating the children on more than swimming pool rules. The same can apply for couples, both at home and abroad. Whether it is a weekly jaunt around the neighbourhood or part of a special break away, cycling is a perfect one to one experience that helps partners to connect and stay connected.
Your family does not necessarily have to be sitting on a saddle to enjoy and benefit from cycling – it is also a great source of entertainment. Spectators are spoiled for choice, with everything from Olympic level velodrome action to classic road races like the Tour de France to choose from. The sport in its many forms presents moments of genuine excitement and tension, and heroes like Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy can be an inspiration to your kids.
And of course there is a serious side to cycling. You can now cycle in London on one of the bikes provided by the city’s bike share scheme – the importance of schemes such as this is that they have the potential to improve the environment for you and your family. The more people cycle, the lower the carbon emissions and indeed the noise pollution. Furthermore, swapping petrol for pedals might just save you a few pennies too.